As per the new Australia migration rules reforms introduced recently, an immigration applicant with a permanent medical condition or a disability will no longer be assessed in terms of lifecare cost. Earlier, it was difficult for migrants with an illness, disease, or intellectual or physical disability to obtain an Australian visa, as it was assumed that their condition would impact the Australian taxpayers and put the general public at risk. The shift in Australia migration policy towards those with permanent medical condition or a disability has been welcomed by immigration lawyers and human rights activists.
Before July 1st of this year, Australian visa was issued if the concerned person’s health requirement was less than $40,000. But now, this threshold has been raised to $49,000. The method of calculating the cost of people with permanent disabilities or medical conditions seeking permanent residency has also been updated with effect from July 1st, 2019. While earlier the hypothetical cost of their care was calculated over their lifetime, now the cost is calculated over just 10 years. The Australia migration applications of those whose hypothetical cost of care exceeded the threshold also used to be rejected earlier. But now, such cases are expected to come down significantly.
Once an application for Australian visa is received from such a person, it is up to the Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (MOC) to give an opinion on whether or not the person’s health condition would result in ‘significant’ health care and community service costs. Community services include social security benefit, allowance or pension; supported accommodation, special education, home and community care.
The health cost is assessed on the basis of whether the application is for a temporary visa or permanent visa. If the application is for a temporary visa, the validity period of the visa will also be taken into consideration. For example, if the estimated annual healthcare cost of a student visa applicant is $16000, it does not exceed the threshold if the validity period of the visa he/she applies for is one year. On the other hand, if a candidate with the same estimated annual healthcare costs is applying for a four-year visa, the estimated costs will cross the healthcare threshold.
In the case of permanent and provisional visa applicants, the healthcare costs are estimated as follows:
- if the applicant is aged less than 75 years: a five-year period; or,
- if the applicant is aged 75 years or older: a three-year period;
But if the condition of the applicant is permanent and the course of the disease is inevitable or reasonably predictable beyond the five-year period, the applicants would be assessed and costs would be estimated for a period of up to a maximum of 10 years. If the applicant has an inevitable or reasonably predictable (65% likelihood) reduced life expectancy due to their health condition or disease, they are assessed for a time period up to a maximum of 10 years.
This marks a significant shift in Australia migration policy concerning applicants with a medical condition and disability.
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